Juke in Chinatown has been open about 5 weeks. There’s this thing about food blogging/food reviewing that you shouldn’t review a place the first x it’s been open — that “x” could be a week, a month, whatever…that value changes depending on who you talk to. I break that rule all the time. One part of me understands that restaurants always need time to work out the kinks, to smooth out their processes and staffing, settle into their “vision”, what have you. The other part of me feels that I don’t want to be a guinea pig, spend hard-earned cash money, waste my time, or waste a dining opportunity with so much out there to try. So I waited more than a month to try Juke. I think I have a pretty good idea about their food and can judge accordingly. You may like it. You may love it. I didn’t.
R&B Brewing are actually one of the local old-school breweries, having opened in 1997 in the same space (now expanded and remodeled) on East 4th & Quebec St. They’re within walking distance of the new Faculty Brewing, Steel Toad, 33 Acres, Brassneck, and Main Street Brewing. R&B were a near-casualty of the Vancouver craft beer boom, and got increasingly overlooked, out-brewed, and ignored when everyone else was opening up tasting rooms where people could hang out, fill growlers, etc, while R&B were stuck with no ability to open a tasting lounge that’s become a critical part of becoming a successful brewery in Vancouver. On the brink of bankruptcy, they were bought out by Howe Sound Brewing in April 2015, with one of the founders, Barry, continuing on as an employee. With that injection of capital and manpower, they’ve finally opened up their lounge and pizza oven in August 2016. How do their beers fare now in today’s crowded and hot hot hot craft beer scene? And how’s their pizza?
The original Richmond location of Smokehouse Sandwich Co. has a big following and I’ve been meaning to try it for a couple years. They opened up a more convenient downtown location back in March but I was actually reminded this week about it from three different sources: a really cool dude posted a SocialShopper coupon for it on Facebook, and two different trusty Instagrammers posted their sandwiches over the past week. That black charcoal bun really stands out!
TLDR: I wanted to like it more than I did. Underseasoned meat, brisket sandwich was dry, but good chips and strawberry & mint drink.
Price isn’t usually that much of an issue for me unless something jumps out — and jump out it did when I took my family to the new Anh + Chi in the old Pho Hoang space on Main & 18th. I don’t mind paying more for a commensurate increase in quality, technique, freshness, and service…but I’m not sure that what I ate justified the increase in price.
TLDR: Average food with hints of greatness for a premium price.
Have we reached “peak ramen”? In the same month that Hapa Ramen opened up, Sanpoutei Ramen in Richmond (next to Parker Place on No. 3 Road) had their grand opening on January
30 20, 2016. In short: good but not worth lining up for. I’d wait until the crowds die down, or go during non-peak periods. There are some unique positives and not many negatives.
I just spent the last half an hour looking longingly at old Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle photos. But this is a supposed to be a review of Fat Mao Noodles! I guess that says something…that I’d rather revisit 2-3 year old experiences than think about what happened yesterday.
I have a made-up category of restaurant that I call “West Coast Modern” that is ingredient-focused, seasonal, local, and small plates-style. I lump restaurants like Farmer’s Apprentice (conflicted review), Burdock & Co. (review, another review), and today’s restaurant Wishes + Luck in that category. Wicca and I went with a bunch of hardcore Instagram foodies to check it out.
I’ve been a little bored with the ramen in Vancouver lately. My top 3 places are still Ramen Jinya, Marutama, and Ramen Santouka. Taishoken made a blip last year, but ownership changes didn’t sit too well with me although when I tried their tsukemen last November, it was still good. Ramen Butcher was good but didn’t wow, and now they’re reworking their broth, which seems worrisome because considering their pedigree, wouldn’t their parent company have nailed a broth recipe already that’s precise to the last detail?
I had been wanting to try España for the longest time. The idea of small plates dining still appeals to my small appetite…being able to experience a bunch of flavours and textures in one meal without being committed to a single entree. But what if not every dish hits the mark? Have all the good cooks moved on to their sister restaurant, The Fat Badger?
The owners at Mui Ngo Gai on Kinsgway near Victoria Dr. really have their heart in the right place. The menu is varied, but not in an unfocussed, sprawling sort of way, but more of an adventurous, curious way. On paper this would be the kind of place that I’d die for, but unfortunately it’s held back a bit by spotty execution.